Purpose of Review
This review brings together recent key research related to the role of fisheries as a source of nutrients to improve human health and discusses the implications of fisheries policy on food- and nutrient-security.
Recent studies highlight the critical role of fisheries to support human nutrition, describing the nutrient composition of hundreds of species of fish, the global distribution of these fish, and the strategic role of fisheries in addressing micronutrient deficiencies.
In many developing regions and emerging economies, fisheries can address malnutrition with local supplies of critical nutrients such as fatty acids, zinc, iron, calcium, and vitamins, making these accessible to low-income populations. However, this local potential is jeopardized by overfishing, climate change, and international trade, which reduce the local availability of nutritious and affordable fish in low-income countries, where they are most needed. This calls for policy reforms that shift management focus of fisheries as a commodity provider to a domestic public health asset to ensure food- and nutrient-security.
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In fisheries terminology, “fish” refers to all finfish and aquatic invertebrates that are caught in marine and freshwaters as part of fishing operations.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
• FAO. The state of world fisheries and aquaculture 2020 - sustainability in action. Rome; 2020. Global perspective of fisheries, their role and contribution.
Willett W, Rockström J, Loken B, Springmann M, Lang T, Vermeulen S, et al. Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. Lancet. 2019;393(10170):447–92.
Murray CJ. Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study. Lancet. 2019;393:1958–72.
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• FAO. The state of world fisheries and aquaculture 2018 - meeting the sustainable development goals. Rome. 2018. Global perspective of fisheries, their role and contribution.
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Lynch A, Cowx I, Fluet-Chouinard E, Glaser S, Phang SC, Beard T, et al. Inland fisheries–invisible but integral to the UN Sustainable Development Agenda for ending poverty by 2030. Glob Environ Chang. 2017;47:167–73.
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Cresson P, Travers-Trolet M, Rouquette M, Timmerman C-A, Giraldo C, Lefebvre S, et al. Underestimation of chemical contamination in marine fish muscle tissue can be reduced by considering variable wet: dry weight ratios. Mar Pollut Bull. 2017;123(1–2):279–85.
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Cohen P, Allison EH, Andrew NL, Cinner JE, Evans LS, Fabinyi M, et al. Securing a just space for small-scale fisheries in the blue economy. Front Mar Sci. 2019;6:171.
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Kelleher K, Westlund L, Hoshino E, Mills D, Willmann R, de Graaf G, et al. Hidden harvest: the global contribution of capture fisheries: Worldbank; WorldFish; 2012.
Blythe JL, Murray G, Flaherty MS. Historical perspectives and recent trends in the coastal Mozambican fishery. Ecology and Society. 2013;18(4).
Pauly D. Major trends in small-scale marine fisheries, with emphasis on developing countries, and some implications for the social sciences. Maritime Studies. 2006;4:7–22.
Tickler D, Meeuwig JJ, Palomares M-L, Pauly D, Zeller D. Far from home: distance patterns of global fishing fleets. Sci Adv. 2018;4(8):eaar3279.
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Zeller D, Cashion T, Palomares M, Pauly D. Global marine fisheries discards: a synthesis of reconstructed data. Fish Fish. 2018;19(1):30–9.
Pauly D. Micronutrient richness of global fish catches. Nature (News & Views); 2019. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-02810-2.
Sumaila UR, Lam VWY, Le Manach F, Swartz W, Pauly D. Global fisheries subsidies: an updated estimate. Mar Policy. 2016;69:189–93.
Cashion T, Le Manach F, Zeller D, Pauly D. Most fish destined for fishmeal production are food-grade fish. Fish Fish. 2017;18(5):837–44.
Shepherd C, Jackson A. Global fishmeal and fish-oil supply: inputs, outputs and marketsa. J Fish Biol. 2013;83(4):1046–66.
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Pauly D, Zeller D. Comments on FAOs state of world fisheries and aquaculture (SOFIA 2016). Mar Policy. 2017;77:176–81.
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Belton B, Bush SR, Little DC. Are farmed fish just for the wealthy? Nature. 2016;538(7624):171.
Belton B, van Asseldonk IJM, Thilsted SH. Faltering fisheries and ascendant aquaculture: implications for food and nutrition security in Bangladesh. Food Policy. 2014;44:77–87.
Laffoley DDDA, Baxter JM. Explaining ocean warming: causes, scale, effects and consequences: IUCN gland, Switzerland; 2016.
Costello C, Ovando D, Clavelle T, Strauss CK, Hilborn R, Melnychuk MC, et al. Global fishery prospects under contrasting management regimes. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2016;113(18):5125–9.
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Rogers LA, Griffin R, Young T, Fuller E, Martin KS, Pinsky ML. Shifting habitats expose fishing communities to risk under climate change. Nat Clim Chang. 2019;9(7):512–6.
Cheung WWL, Pauly D. Impacts and effects of ocean warming on marine fishes. In: Laffoley D, Baxter JM, editors. Explaining ocean warming: causes, scale, effects and consequences. Switzerland: IUCN Gland; 2016. p. 239–53.
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The activities of the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean at the University of Western Australia and the Sea Around Us at the University of British Columbia are supported by the Oak Foundation, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Marisla Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Minderoo Foundation, and Bloomberg Philanthropies through RARE.
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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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Vianna, G.M.S., Zeller, D. & Pauly, D. Fisheries and Policy Implications for Human Nutrition. Curr Envir Health Rpt 7, 161–169 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40572-020-00286-1
- Fish consumption
- Small-scale fisheries, large-scale fisheries
- Industrial fisheries